The laziest way to acquire Spanish
|More grammar don't necessarily mean more Spanish|
|Photo credit: James Bon Tempo licensed CC BY-SA 2.0|
Yes, the laziest way to learn Spanish is essentially the most effective and optimal unless all you aspire is being able to greet some foreign tourists and order a cerveza (beer) in a foreign restaurant. My attempts on this blog are more relevant to those who intend to be “fluent” in Spanish, indistinguishable from the natives.
Do you know what the easiest part of learning a foreign language is? It is the acquisition of every possible resource (books, media, etc.) around the activity and browsing through the first few pages of more than a dozen grammar books and phrasebooks. Now, over to the hard part. The hardest bit is choosing the right resource to start with and then sustaining the learning process with consistency. Let’s try to sort out this problem before proceeding with our learning.
So, is grammar totally useless?
Alright, so we have already established that the most effective learning strategy for a native-like proficiency is to maximize input (listening and reading) in the target language, in this case Spanish. However, since we are no longer kids, it is extremely easy for boredom and demotivation to set in once we have received a few hours of incomprehensible input in an alien language. That’s where our conventional learning resources (grammar books and dictionaries) kick in. Note that the idea here is to learn “in context”. Traditionally, we are taught to mug up vocabulary and grammar before we even consider any application of the acquired language in a practical context. And the idea being discussed here is exactly the opposite. First, get the context and then use grammar to understand the speech in that context.
|This will work only if you are learning Spanish for a test|
|EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection licensed CC BY-SA 2.0|
But nobody speaks Spanish around me!
|Movies are an excellent source of unfettered Spanish input!|
|Photo credit: Franco Folini licensed CC BY-SA 2.0|
Maintain a strict regimen of watching the same movie or show leastwise three to four times every day. Tempting as it might get, avoid touching the dictionary or grammar reference or even turning on the subtitles while watching the video on the first day. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the visuals and try to relate the story as a dumb kid. On day two, watch the show with Spanish subtitles. Not English! Sporadically, refer to the dictionary to look up unfamiliar words and refer to the grammar book for the correct construction of certain words indicated as verbs in the dictionary. Continue with the same movie for at least a week before changing for the effect to sink in.
Sounds mundane, doesn’t it? Just be patient and hang on for a couple of months and you’ll notice subtle improvements in your comprehension. Work toward that reward and you won’t be disappointed. It is true that learning Spanish calls for discipline and patience – Spanish should be all around you at all the time! In the coming posts, we will review some innovative ways to retain the newly acquired Spanish vocabulary and grammar concepts.
Until then, wish you luck!